Sunday night's Stephanie Izard (and Guests) Goat Tour dinner was a convergence of new and cool projects all gathered together under white lights strung above the grass carpeted courtyard of Joe Garcia's soon-to-be-built-out The Accidental Yard in Old Town Scottsdale.
Twinkling tealights greeted guests along with piles of Girl in the Kitchen cookbooks (the original thrust for the evening's dinner and other stops on Izard's Goat Tour). Several stations were open for viewing and gabbing. First was the meal prep area with the chefs and assistants plating 3 sets of little bites for passed appetizers, then 3 mini meals and 3 desserts. We tried MacMillan's creamy Lobster Papillion roll ups, Randy Zweiban's sweet and crispy roasted Butternut Squash Taquitos and our favorite, Chef Izard's African Kitfo, an Ethiopian-style steak tartare with piri piri sauce and spiced Rice Krispies.
The next station we visited was the Mulch Coffee station. Mulch will be the coffee component of the Accidental Yard, once finished. Owners Jason Calhoon and Brian Clements graciously presented their two coffees (an Ethiopian Yergacheffe and citrusy El Salvador variety) via their current favorite pour over brewing method , through the gorgeous glass and wood Chemex carafes.
The libation station was next before sitting down to the served meals and treats. We got to sample Travis Nass' Accidental Punch, made with fig infused rum, raspberry lemon "oleo sacrum", lemon juice, orange juice, chai tea and black walnut liquor, dusted with nutmeg -- like a doughnut in a glass. The famous-for-a-reason mixologist Kim Haasarud's lusciously addictive Bourbon Apple cocktail contained Basil Hayden, baked apple puree with calvados, demerara sugar, lemon juice and bitters.
Dinner was a trio of meat-based dishes to small critters we can find in our own backyards and one farm piggy. Zweiban brought us Grilled Rabbit Sausage with marcona almonds, Queens Creek olives, Singh Farm greens, apples, mustard-sherry vinaigrette. BeauMac made Citrus cured pork belly with molasses lime glaze and petit apple salad. Izard rouned out the meal portion with grilled quail with butternut squash kimchi. Super-sommelier David Johnson jovially poured appropriate wines to accompany each dish.
At night's end, sweets filled each diner's table space. We had flutes of cream sherry; a chocolate orange cocktail artfully presented with an orange peel garnish; peanut butter and chocolate flan; our table's favorite salted popcorn caramel panna cotta and our personal favorite -- spiced apple cobbler topped with whipped goat cheese that had us scooping bits from the teeny tiny dessert jar.
All this culinary hand-holding resulted in 100% of the proceeds going to Share Our Strength's network of programs aimed at ending childhood hunger by 2015 - a sweet ending to be sure.
Keep your eyes peeled for a recap of our quick visit with Chef Izard and a preview of her book Girl in the Kitchen in a future Chow Bella post.